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An urgent call: Return former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti

January 23, 2011

by Haiti Action Committee

Despite ever-threatening military occupation and police repression, Haitians’ have incessantly demanded the return of President Aristide since he was kidnapped and forced into exile by U.S. Marines in the Feb. 29, 2004, coup d’etat.
Haiti Action Committee is honored to post this full-page ad that appeared Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in the Miami Herald, echoing the call of Haiti’s democratic movement for the return of President Aristide.

Signed by hundreds of people, it demands that the United States, the United Nations and the Haitian government stop blocking President Aristide from returning to the land of his birth.

The text of the ad and a list of signers appear below.

For those interested in joining this campaign, please sign the petition HERE.

In the aftermath of the terrible earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12th, 2010, calls for the return of former President Aristide have been growing louder. Last July 15, 10,000 people took to the streets in Port-au-Prince to commemorate President Aristide’s birthday and call for his return. A broad sector of Haitian grassroots organizations, women’s groups, human rights activists and educators have made it clear that now is the time to end President Aristide’s forced exile in South Africa. A petition circulating among Haitian women gathered well over 20,000 signatures within a few days, calling for the return.

President Aristide has publicly stated that he wishes to return home to Haiti to participate in Haiti’s recovery. President Aristide’s support among Haiti’s poor, who elected him twice as president, and who represent the vast majority of the Haitian population and are those most affected by the recent devastating earthquake, remains strong. There are no legal obstacles to his return; in fact Article 41 of Haiti’s Constitution, declares that “no individual of Haitian nationality can be deported or forced to leave the country for any reason whatsoever,” and Article 41-1 states that “no Haitian needs a visa to leave the country or to return to it.”

Nevertheless, President Aristide remains in exile because the Haitian government, the United States, France, Canada, and the United Nations forces in Haiti have blocked his return. The Haitian government has not responded to President Aristide’s request for the issuance of a passport. U.S. and UN officials have issued public statements opposing his return.

But they do not speak for the people of Haiti. As demonstrations for President Aristide’s return continue in Haiti, as broad sectors of Haitian society echo this call, as the voices of those living in refugee camps across the devastated city of Port-au-Prince and throughout Haiti reach us, we reiterate and support their demand.

President Aristide’s family – his wife, Mildred, an attorney and U.S. citizen, and his children, Christine, 7, and Michaelle, 5, and Jean Bertrand – were reunited March 18, 2004, in Jamaica, where they stayed briefly following the Feb. 29, 2004, coup before going to South Africa, where they remain in exile.
We call on the Haitian government to immediately renew President Aristide’s passport as he has requested, and to facilitate his return, without any conditions, to the country of his birth. We call on the international authorities, particularly the United Nations and the United States government, to end their opposition to President Aristide’s return. Justice, humanity and respect for self-determination are at the heart of this issue. All hands are needed in Haiti at this difficult moment.

Andaiye, International Coordinator, Red Thread • Harry Belafonte, Actor/Activist • Dr. Paul FarmerEduardo Galeano, journalist, author, Uruguay • Danny Glover, Actor/Activist • Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit • Selma James, Global Women’s Strike • Reverend Jesse JacksonTony Jeanthenor, Veye Yo, Miami, FL • Farah Juste, artist/activist, Miami, FL • Pierre Labossiere, co-founder, Haiti Action Committee • Margaret Prescod, Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike • Randall Robinson, author • Alina Sixto, radio host, Fanmi LavalasOliver Stone, Filmmaker Kali Akuno, Malclom X Grassroots Movement • Bernadene Allen, PhD, Professor of Anthropology, College of Marin • Roger Annis, Canada Haiti Action Network • Dr. Molefi Asante, Department of African American Studies, Temple University • Orlando Aupont, Multi-Cultural Family Nexus • John Avalos, San Francisco Board of Supervisors • Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice • David Bacon, Labor activist, photojournalist • Medea Benjamin, CODE PINK • Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER • Dennis Bernstein, KPFA Flashpoints • Johanna Berrigan, House of Grace Catholic Worker • Steve Bingham, Attorney • Annie Bird, co-Director, Rights Action • Hugo Blanco, La Lucha Indígena, Perú • Blase Bonpane, Ph.D, Director, Office of the Americas • Serge Bouchereau, educator activist, Canada • Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder, SOA Watch • John H. Bracey, Jr., Professor, University of Massachusetts • Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, MCC Church • Richard Brown, San Francisco 8/Committee for Defense of Human Rights • Dr. Siri Brown, Chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Merritt College, Oakland • Keith Carson, Alameda County Board of Supervisors • Mike Casey, President of Local 2, Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union and President of SF Labor Council • Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, President, National Council for Black Studies • Ward Churchill, author, educator • Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General • Marjorie Cohn, Deputy Secretary General International Association of Democratic Lawyers • Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti • Rabbi David J. CooperPeter Dahlen, President, Labor Arbitration Institute • Ezili Dantò, President, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network • Bob and Adele DellaValle-Rauth, Coordinators Pax Christi Virginia • Jacques M F Depelchin, Ota Benga Alliance for Peace, Healing and Dignity • Jean-Claude Derose, Haitian activist, Canada • Tom F. Driver, The Paul J. Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary in New York • Emory Douglas, artist, former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party • Sister Maureen Duignan, OSF, Executive Director, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant • Berthony Dupont, director, Haiti Liberte • Claudio Duran, Professor of History, Merritt College • James Early, board member, Institute for Policy Studies • Matt Eisenbrandt, Human Rights Attorney • Joe Emersberger, editor, haitianalysis.com • Minister Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam • Moira Feeney Esq., Attorney at Law • Leslie Fleming, Professor of Anthropology, Merritt College • Bill Fletcher, Jr., BlackCommentator.com • Sara Flounders, International Action Center • Laura Flynn, writer, educator • Willy Forges, Haitian activist, Canada • Harry Fouche, former Consul General of Haiti to NY • Nancy M. Friedman, Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club • Paul George, Director, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Palo Alto, CA • David Gespass, President, National Lawyers Guild • Ann Fagan Ginger, attorney & author, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute • Jackie Goldberg, California State Assembly Member, Chair of Assembly Education Committee, retired • Sister Stella Goodpasture, OP, Justice Promoter, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose • Rashidah Grinage, Executive Director of PUEBLO (People United for a Better Life in Oakland) • Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University London • Peter Hardie, Executive Director, Pushback Network • Tom Hayden, Peace and Justice Resource Center, Culver City, CA • Ed Herman, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania • Aileen Hernandez, community activist, first woman on EEOC • Gerald Horne, historian and author • Phil Hutchings, Civil Rights activist (SNCC), Black Alliance for Just Immigration • Nehanda Imara, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party • Kim Ives, filmmaker & journalist with Haiti Liberté • Rabbi Burt JacobsonJafrikayiti (Jean Saint-Vil), author • Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at, past National Co-Chair of N’COBRA • Borgella Jeantine, Konbit Verite • Frantz Jerome, educator, activist • Avotcja Jilconilro, artist • Linton Kwesi Johnson, reggae poet, & recording artist, Jamaica/UK • Charles Jones, Professor, Department of African American Studies, Georgia State University • Hank Jones, SF 8/Committee for the Defense of Human Rights • Rose-Marie Joseph, Baz Fanmi Lavalas • Marie-Claire Junelle, Public Health educator, Montreal, Canada • Hekima Kanyama, Acting Center Director, Unity Council of the African Community Center for Unity and Self-Determination/Atlanta • Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor of Africana Studies, California State University, Long Beach. • Michelle Karshan, Haiti Dream Keeper Archives • Susan Roberta Katz, Professor of International & Multicultural Education, University of San Francisco • Katharine Kean, filmmaker • Nunu Kidane, director, Priority Africa Network • Jonathan Kozol, National Book Award-winning author and educator • Ira Kurzban, Esq. • Eusi Kwayana, teacher, activist, author, Guyana • Ronald Laborde, RALIH, Haitian youth organization, Montreal, Canada • Marilyn Langlois, community advocate, Mayor’s Office, Richmond, CA • Dr. Frantz Latour, editor, Haiti Liberte • Rev. James Lawson, United Methodist pastor, civil rights activist • Rev. Phil Lawson, Interfaith Program Director for East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) • Jacques Elie Leblanc, columnist, Haiti Liberte • Gerald Lenoir, Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration • Dr. Mark Lomax, First African Presbyterian Church • Nina Lopez-Jones, Global Women’s Strike • Picard Losier, Esq., Philadelphia, PA • Sharon Losier, Esq., Philadelphia, PA • Chokwe Lumumba, Esq., Member, City Council, Jackson, Mississippi • Ian Macdonald, Queen’s Counsel, UK • Moshé Machover, Professor Emeritus, University of London, UK • Eric Mar, San Francisco Board of Supervisors • Frank Martin del Campo, President, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement-AFL-CIO, San Francisco • John McDonnell, Member of Parliament, UK • Gayle McGlaughlin, Mayor of Richmond, CA • Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman, 2008 Green Party Presidential candidate • Rose-Marie Milford, Konbit Pou Fanm Lakay, Canada • Paul W. Miller, Director, Haiti Justice Alliance, Northfield, Minnesota • Tom Miller Esq., General Counsel, Global Exchange • Judith Mirkinson, San Francisco Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom • Alejandro Molina, Secretary, Board of Directors, Puerto Rican Cultural Center • George Monpremier, Fanmi Lavalas NY • Darryl Moore, City Council, Berkeley, CA • Joia S. Mukherjee, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Partners In Health • Mumia Abu-Jamal, journalist/author • Karen Musalo, Clinical Professor of Law & Director, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, University of California, Hastings College of the Law • Gus Newport, former Mayor, Berkeley, CA • Marlene A. Noel, Fanmi Lavalas NY • Pedro Noguera, Ph.D, Professor, Steinhardt School of Education, N.Y.U. • Kiilu Nyasha, host of Freedom is a Constant Struggle • Tim Paulson, Executive Director, San Francisco Labor Council • Fritzner Pierre, Dyalog Popilè (Popular Dialogue) • Wadner Pierre, journalist, Inter-Press Service • Kevin Pina, educator and filmmaker • Honorable Jim Prola, San Leandro City Councilmember • Eric Quezada, Immigration and Human Rights Activist, Executive Director of Dolores Street Community Services • William Quigley, Esq., Center for Constitutional Rights, Professor of Law, Loyola New Orleans Law School • Maisha Quint, Eastside Arts Alliance • Barbara Ransby, Professor of History and African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago • Karen Ranucci, journalist • Kate Raphael, KPFA Women’s Magazine • Mary & Willie Ratcliff, editor and publisher, San Francisco Bay View • Laura Raymond, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Center for Constitutional Rights • Barbara Rhine, Attorney • Blanche Richardson, Marcus Books • Dr. Rae Richardson, Marcus Books • Walter Riley, Attorney, Chair of Board, Haiti Emergency Relief Fund • William I Robinson, Sociology Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara • Jamala Rogers, Organization for Black Struggle, St Louis, MO • Nicolas Rossier, independent filmmaker and journalist • Maggie Ronayne, Acting Head of Archaeology, National University of Ireland • Lisa Roth, co-founder San Francisco Dyke March • Robert Roth, co-founder, Haiti Action Committee • Grahame Russell, co-director, Rights Action • Natsu Taylor Saito, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law • Carolyn S. Scarr, Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC: program coordinator • Amilcar Shabazz, Chair, W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies University of Massachusetts • Susan Scott, co-Chair, International Committee, National Lawyers Guild • Jean Senat-Fleury, Av., Former Juge d’Instruction, Haiti and Former Academic Director of the Haitian Magistrates’ Academy • Dan Siegel, Attorney, former president of Oakland School Board • Judy Somberg, Esq., Chair, National Lawyers Guild, Task Force on the Americas • Jean Sorel, Haitian activist, Canada • Jeb Sprague, University of California, Santa Barbara • Larry Stephens, Chair of African American Caucus (AFRAM) of Service Employees Union Local 1021 • James B. Stewart, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University, former President of National Council of Black Studies • Irwin Stotsky, Esq. • Lisa Sullivan, Latin America Coordinator, SOA Watch • Phil Taylor, “The Taylor Report” CIUT 89.5 Toronto. • Makani Themba-Nixon, Executive Director, The Praxis Project • Michael Theriault, Secretary Treasurer, San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council • Bret Thiele, International Human Rights Lawyer • Lucie Tondreau, Caribbean Pan-African Network • Walter Turner, Professor of History and Ethnic Studies, College of Marin, host/Africa Today, KPFA • Franklin Ulysse, political analyst, Canada • Akinyele Umoja, Professor of African American History, Georgia State University • Unity Council of the African Community Center for Unity and Self-Determination/Atlanta • James E Vann, Community Activist & Co-founder, Oakland Tenants Union • Dave Welsh, Letter Carriers Union #214 and delegate, SF Labor Council • Sam Weinstein, Assistant to the President, Utility Workers Union of America • Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research • Burton Victor Wides, Esq., Former Counsel to President Carter for Oversight of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Former Washington, D.C. counsel to the Constitutional Government of Haiti • Raymond A. Winbush, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Urban Research, Morgan State University • Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus, TRINITY UCC, Chicago, Illinois • Karen Zapata, Teachers for Social Justice • Joe Zelenka, Chairperson. St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church Haiti Committee, President, Board of Directors, Parish Twinning Program of the Americas • Benjamin Zephaniah, writer, poet, UK •

Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. This full page ad, which appeared in the Miami Herald Jan. 23, 2011, was paid for by Haiti Action Committee, P.O. Box 2040, Berkeley, CA 94702, www.haitisolidarity.net.

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